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This is the first post in a series called Principles of Asana, looking at how to skillfully apply discernment and wisdom in our poses and in our practice.
Your breath is your superpower--it’s both a barometer AND a pressure release valve. When we feel stressed, the breath becomes ragged and constricted, or we simply hold the breath. But when we notice, we can use the breath to come back to center, inhaling and exhaling to make the mind stable and the body relaxed. It is both the indicator of how you’re doing and the tool to bring you back to calm.
Your breath is your secret superpower. Your breath is the thread that ties together the mind, body and spirit. It’s what elevates yoga from simply exercise to something that has the power to profoundly transform. When we synchronize movement with breath, the mind focuses. When the mind is settled, we pierce through our own bullshit to see ourselves clearly.
We often start from the physical form in a yoga class. We focus on the alignment and anatomy, perfecting it from the inside out. Yet the inner experience is guided by the breath. What if we started from the breath instead?
What if we started from the breath in every action, not just on the yoga mat?
What if before every difficult conversation, every big decision, every email reply, we took a breath, consciously and fully awake. Use the breath as barometer first: How am I doing? Then open up the valve: Where can I let go?
Your breath is your secret superpower. Use it well.